And the award goes to…

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And the award goes to…

Bronx non-profit board recognized

Story by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

“We’ve proven very effective in implementing city programs,” said BronxWorks Board Chair David McLean.  Photo: John Higgins

“We’ve proven very effective in implementing city programs,” said BronxWorks Board Chair David McLean.
Photo: John Higgins

The awards season is not over.

While Oscar golden statuettes have been handed out, there are still more honors to come.

The Annual Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Outstanding Board Leadership approaches. There are five nominees, and the winner will be announced during a cocktail reception on Tues., March 11th.

One of this year’s five nominees is BronxWorks. The others are East Harlem Tutorial Group, the GO Project, Reach Out & Read of Greater New York and Urban Pathways, and each organiztion’s board is being singled out as being representative of “outstanding examples of good governance”.

VCG Governance Matters, a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 by the Harvard Business School Club of Greater New York, whose mission focuses on building, strengthening and empowering the boards of nonprofit organizations. It focuses on bringing together boards needing new members—and individuals who wish to serve—across boundaries of skill, ethnicity, age and geography.

VCG Governance Matters established the award in 2009 to honor Brooke W. Mahoney’s memory. Mahoney sought to bring diverse, dedicated individuals into the nonprofit board room, and to create a “brain trust” to help organizations achieve their mission.

It is the only award that annually recognizes the leadership and work of an entire nonprofit Board of Directors.

“These organizations are all dedicated to providing services to individuals and families in need, across our city,” said David LaGreca, VCG Governance Matter’s Executive Director. “We are delighted to be showcasing the dedication of the women and men whose volunteer board service is critical in achieving the missions of their respective organizations.”

BronxWorks has been recognized by the Department of Youth and Community Development in the past. Photo: John Higgins

BronxWorks has been recognized by the Department of Youth and Community Development in the past.
Photo: John Higgins

The VCG Governance Matters brings in an outside group each year, explained LaGreca, to evaluate submitted applications and to narrow the group down to 4 or 5 finalists. Each finalist is then interviewed by the jury (consisting of the Executive Director and Board Chair), who select the final winner.

The winner will receive a $5,000 award, supported by a gift in Mahoney’s memory from The Rauch Foundation on whose board she served.

The board at BronxWorks uses self-assessment strategies to maintain the quality of its board. There is a governance committee in place as well.

BronxWorks offers services throughout the Bronx and has doubled in size in the past decade, and David McLean, the Board Chairperson, said it is due in no small part to its strict oversight.

“We run a tight ship financially,” said McLean. Photo: John Higgins

“We run a tight ship financially,” said McLean.
Photo: John Higgins

BronxWorks provides a multitude of services, including immigration services, family programs, workforce development, and homeless services.

But its wealth of services does not harm or distract, said McLean, because the organization’s leadership makes sure to not bite off more than it can chew.

“We’ve proven very effective in implementing city programs,” he said.

“We run a tight ship financially and we have the infrastructure to be effective,” he added.

In fact, because of the success that BronxWorks has had in running its programs since 1972, it has been chosen to be part of the Navigator program to help support people searching for a healthcare plan under the health exchange.

“We want the size of the board to be big enough to represent the Bronx community with different expertise and backgrounds, but small enough so everyone can be an active participant,” said McLean, a retired lawyer who was of counsel for a large accounting firm.

Budgets and governance aside, McLean continually underscored the importance of board members whose commitment and passion for the work drives them.

“You have to be really, authentically ‘about’ the mission of the organization,” he remarked. “If you’re not, you’re not going to be effective.”

The winner of the Brooke W. Mahoney Award will be announced on Tues., Mar. 11th.

For more information on the VCG Governance Matters and the Award, please visit www.vcg.org.

For more on BronxWorks, please visit www.bronxworks.org.